Over the last few years, I have really gotten into photography. The evolution of SLR cameras from film to digital has really revolutionized the way one can take photos — and continue learning the whole time. Instead of just shooting one or two shots you hope will be great (but you can’t be sure until you go have the film developed), you can shoot 50 or 100 photos in quick succession and then check to see what you got immediately. The world of digital photography just couldn’t be any cooler.

Since I know there are a lot of people just getting started with photography, I thought you might enjoy learning more about what I actually shoot with.

    1. Canon Rebel XS 10.1MP Digital SLR Camera  (known as the EOS 1000D in Europe) — I have to admit that I absolutely adore this camera. It is robust, it’s easy to use and it takes awesome photos. My dad was a Canon man, my husband had a Canon back in the day…and so it just fit that I would get a Canon of my own one day. This was actually my “you-did-an-awesome-job-carrying-our-baby-girl-for-nine-months” gift, and I can think of few presents which are better for a new mom (or dad)!

  1.  Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens for Canon EOS SLR Cameras — Since my husband had the non-digital EOS when he was younger, I was luck enough to inherit this killer zoom lens. The one I have is actually the older generation so it doesn’t have the fancy image stabilizer…but it’s awesome anyway. It’s great if you’re going to photograph birds or wildlife from a distance.
  2. Tamron AF 17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di-II LD SP Aspherical (IF) Zoom Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras — This lens is the greatest! It’s my multi-purpose, daily use lens and I just adore it. It also comes with a lens hood (or at least mine did) which allows you to dampen some of the glare when you’re photographing in the outdoors. And if you’re a bit of a klutz like me, it will also help stop you from bumping the lens on everything.Which brings me to…
    Tamron-AF 17-50mm
  3. A good UV Filter — I have a Quantaray UV filter for my Tamron lens, but this Tiffen 67mm UV Protection Filter will also do the trick and it’s way cheaper than what I paid for mine. A UV filter is really awesome for your camera because it allows you to protect your lens from getting all scratched up. And if the filter gets damaged, you just toss it and buy a new one. Doing the same with a $400+ lens is not a very comfortable thought for me (but if you like throwing your money away, I’ll be happy to let you pamper me a bit!)
  4. Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Camera Lens — This is a fabulous lens for close up photography and people shots. It’s got a lot of clarity with a great blur on the background. And it works wonderfully for macro shots with the filters I mention next…
  5. Zeikos 52mm filter set (+1, +2, +4 and +10 ) — Again, mine filters were inherited and they are Quantaray, but these metal filters are comparable and will fit perfectly on the Canon 50mm lens mentioned above. Filters like these allow you to do some awesome macro shots (like when you get really close to a bug on a leaf or the stamen of a flower to capture the pollen).
  6. Meike MK-500D Professional Battery Grip — Naturally there is a wonderful Canon battery grip out there, but in my experience, the cheaper Made in China camera accessories are often just as good for one-quarter of the price. A battery grip adds weight to your camera, keeping you from moving it so slightly while shooting. Plus it gives you twice as much battery life for your camera.  But in addition to these performance features, it just looks hella cool when it’s on your camera.
  7. Extra camera batteries (Canon LP-E5 or equivalent) — These are not an absolute must if you never travel and don’t plan to take more than a few hundred pictures a day (or rarely use your flash.) But we recently invested in this double-pack of Chinese batteries and, so far, they are absolutely comparable to the expensive Canon ones…and a fraction of the price.
  8. Transcend 16GB SD HC high speed memory card — I recently discovered these memory cards while trying to figure out the maximum-sized card I can use in my camera. I like shooting in RAW format (which allows you to edit the photos in Lightroom and you have full control over the editing) but it also takes longer for the photos to write to the card because of the size of the files. With a high speed memory card, the card actually is able to write the photos about four times as fast as a regular SD card which can make all the difference in the world when you are shooting in continuous mode.
  9. Crumpler Messenger Boy 6000 — Ah, my beloved photo bag. When I was at the Whiny Expat Bloggers Meetup in Hamburg, we found an awesome photo shop which is the first place I’d ever seen Crumpler bags. I instantly fell in love. I love that they look good but are modest and they carry a ton of equipment. They’re extremely well made and my bag (well over a year old now) is not showing one minute of wear although I use it often.  Plus, compared to most of the other bags on the market, their prices cannot be beaten for the amount of bag you get.
  10. LensPEN — This is the coolest little lens cleaning gadget that you’ve ever seen (but probably never heard of). On one side, you’ve got a brush to sweep off all those stray hairs and dust that eventually collect on your lens. And on the other side (show let in the image below) is a cap with a little buffer. Inside the cap is a cleaning compound which can be applied by putting on the cap and twisting the pen. It seriously couldn’t be more simple or clean. Then you just take the buffer pad and rub it around the lens to give it a good final cleaning and get off any spots. I feel a bit of hot air also helps (from you, just to fog up the lens a bit). And afterwards, your lens will look like new.

Now that I’ve shared my favorite camera necessities, what standards do you always have with you? 

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